Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adieu 2011

It's been a fine year.
New challenges tackled - new places explored - new faces encountered.
I always feel I'm on the cusp of change(s) with the dawning of each new year, and of course I am, as we all are.
What they may be, what they may bring - ah, patience.
The following show a few of my favorite moments from this past  year.
Happy New Year one and all!

Doc Holliday & me in Tombstone Arizona.

The Tucson three - my fellow bloggers who encouraged me on this journey.

Kitti & I in Patan Durbar Square, Nepal

Going to see Everest.


Singhe - I loved his smile.

Strawberry social.

Peach lady.

Holy Crow.

Artist & patron.

The Venice four.


Busman's holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Festive Special

My Mom, me and Di at the Swiss Restaurant.
Christmas just wouldn't be the same without an annual visit to the Swiss Restaurant for the Festive Special. My Mom, Di (a former neighbor) and I have been celebrating this tradition for at least twenty years now. Every year there is great debate as to what to order — it's been the same request for the past twenty years — quarter chicken of white meat with fries for two, plus one veggie burger for yours truly, as the token veggie. Great discussion occurs over the dessert menu, and it is always the lemon meringue pie with three forks that wins. The chocolates arrive for the two who ordered the Festive Special, and they generously share them with me. As much as the visit to the Swiss restaurant is tradition, so too is the ritual of discussing the meal selection. We exchange pressies over the table and bid adieu for another season. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Nothing makes me smile faster than a plastic snowman lighting up a front yard at this time of the year.  

 I have watched this menagerie grow over the years. What once was a semi-circle of plastic plug-in snowmen, has morphed into an army of snowmen in every shape, size, construction and noteworthiness.
They are now safely tucked behind a tall wrought iron fence,
for their own protection.
I particularly like the smaller ones huddled around their campfire. 
Surprisingly, they don't melt. ;-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Was it a Gherkin or was it a tree?

London's Gherkin.
While in London last  year, my Mom and I became fascinated by a building known as the Gherkin. Gherkin in shape, and unique in design, inside and out, it stands a part in London's skyline. Once you see it, you know you have never seen a building like it before, and it helps identify London's skyline.

Last night driving home from downtown, out of the corner of my eye I saw Christmas lights that reminded me of the Gherkin. I did a U turn, and went back to look more closely at my Gherkin. It was a tall conical shaped tree, with lights placed on it, in the same pattern as London's Gherkin. I had to take a picture. I then drove slowly through the neighborhood, taking in all the Christmas lights. It reminded me of when I was a kid, and my Dad would pile the family into our 1967 Pontiac Parisienne, and we would go downtown to see all the wonderful Christmas lights along University Avenue.

For a few minutes last night, as I was driving slowing down side streets, I felt like I was back in 1967, when Christmas truly was magical.

My Christmas Gherkin.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Traditions - my word of the week

During this time of the year, there are many traditions I like to observe. Traditions can allow for a continuity of certain feelings at certain times.

Christmas is one of those times that takes me back to my childhood, as far as when certain traditions were given their impetus for me. When I was a small girl, I would go downtown during December, with my Babcia, and we would visit Simpson's and Eaton's. It was a big event, where we were both dressed in our Sunday best, including hat and gloves. We would take the street car from her house, which was a thrill all its own — as there were no street cars  where I lived. 

In those days, Simpson's and Eaton's were two massive department stores, that were across the street from one another on Queen street in downtown Toronto. My Babcia would price something in Eaton's, and inevitably, we would buy it in Simpson's. We would hold  on to the rickety wooden escalator in Eaton's and climb up to the Toy Department - Mecca - to any child - and I was no different. Where to start? The line-up to see Santa Clause was forever, so opted to just dream about all the toys I wanted under my tree that year - Barbie, Operation, Kiddles, Kerplunk & Barrel of Monkeys.

We would cross the street and have a wander through Simpson's. The notions department for my Babcia, and the toy department again for me.We always stopped for lunch in the basement cafeteria, where we sat at stools at the counter, and where they had pieces of pie under the glass in front of you. It was so exciting and fun. I loved how I could just swing my feet, as I was too small to touch the foot rests. I was allowed a pot of tea, a habit, I've carried on to this day. My Babcia allowed me get a taste for tea at a young age, and it stuck.

No trip was complete without checking out the department store windows for Christmas. Some years had Santa and his elves working in his toyshop, some years were covered in tinsel and silver, after all, this was the age of Aquarius. 

As my Babica got older, and wasn't up for the big Simpson's adventure, my Mom and I took up the charge. No longer did we hit the toy department, but the fashion department. Lunch was upgraded to the Arcadian court, and my feet were firmly placed under my seat now. Over time, Simpson's became The Bay, but still in the same Queen street location. Each December my Mom and I make the pilgrimage to The Bay Queen Street, to have a wander through the fashion department, note the decor section. Sadly, the Arcadian court was no longer a lunch option this year, as it was closed for renovations. There isn't even a toy department in the store any more, and we were too pooped to check out the Christmas windows this year. 

Having said that, I still enjoyed my tradition of hitting Simpson's/The Bay Queen street this December, in the midst of all the Christmas madness. What would Christmas be, without a trip to the big Queen street department store. Ho ho ho!